Printable Version
Pronunciation: kwah-kwê-vêr-sêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Emanating from a central point and spreading in all directions, as 'a quaquaversal dome or umbrella' or 'a quaquaversal oil spill'. 2. From every direction toward a center point, all around.

Notes: Here is an adjective that has everyday uses but is almost never used. It comes, as usual, with an adverb, quaquaversally, and a noun, quaquaversality.

In Play: Today's Good Word implies movement in all directions, "Mr. Milquetoast's bumbershoot was broken so that it couldn't make is usual quaquaversal opening," or from all directions: "The ascent to the castle on the mountain is quaquaversally steep and arduous."

Word History: Today's word is a derivation of Late Latin quaquaversum "on all sides" based on the Classical Latin phrase quaqua versus "turned wheresoever". Quaqua in Latin meant "wheresoever, whithersoever, whencesoever". It comprises a reduplicated qua "where, by which way" + versus "turned toward, facing". We know the origin of qua, PIE kwo-, the interrogative and relative pronoun, which also produced English who, what, where, etc. Versus goes back to PIE wer-t- "to turn, bend, wind", source also of the English combining form -ward in toward, homeward, windward. That is it in German werden "will, become" (turn into), Russian vertet' "turn, spin, twirl", and Lithuanian virsti "to overturn". (We thank the mysterious Grogie of the arcane vocabulary for today's Good Word, which actually appears in most dictionaries.)

Dr. Goodword,

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